Richard (Dick) Telford

(Born 1945)

Dick Telford was educated at Northcote High School while establishing a reputation as an outstanding junior footballer with North Reservoir.  His VFL career was very brief, one game with Collingwood and two with Fitzroy before a thumb injury all but prompted a retirement from the game. Fortunately for Preston he changed his mind and joined the Bullants, mostly because he had a few mates from his junior days already playing for the club. 

Telford debuted in the seconds in 1968 but five games into the season he was promoted to the firsts, which he proceeded to dominate. Extraordinarily, he won the JJ Liston Trophy for outstanding player in the VFA, despite missing five games. He also won the club’s best and fairest award and gathered an amazing 32 kicks in Preston’s Grand Final triumph. In 1969 he repeated as best and fairest of Preston’s star studded Premiership team. 

Playing in the centre, Telford used his unmatched fitness levels to dominate the competition. He set new standards of fitness for the VFA, and it was no surprise that he pursued a career in physical education. Telford left Preston after the 1972 season having played 68 games, to move to Western Australia to pursue his studies in physical education. He returned in 1975 and combined his studying with the role of coach of Preston until 1976 when he finally retired from football to focus on his career.

Telford worked in the Physical Education Department at Preston Institute of Technology as well as coaching Preston Cricket Club and then the Victorian Sheffield Shield Cricket Team. He was one of the first Australians to earn a PhD in Physical Education, and is considered Australia’s first full time sports scientist. When the Australian Institute opened in the late 1970s, Telford moved to Canberra and served in a variety of roles at the AIS including head of the Physiology/Applied Nutrition Department.  He also became a successful athletics coach of athletes such as Lisa Ondeiki and Andrew Lloyd. Today, Dick Telford retains a high profile in Athletics and Sports Sciences generally and is a much sought after speaker.   

“Professor Richard Telford AM Ph D”, Saxton Speakers Bureau [Online], WWW Resource, Accessed 4/5/2006, retrieved from:

Holmesby, Russell & Main, Jim (2002). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: Every AFL/VFL player since 1897, Melbourne: Crown Content.

Membrey, Brian (2004).  Where we come from: Celebrating Preston Football Club’s admission to senior VFA ranks in 1903.  Preston: Northern Bullants Football Club.